Council votes against amalgamation

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 06/03/2014

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Hawke's Bay

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Either Hastings or Napier would inevitably suffer if the region amalgamates, Napier City Council says.

The council yesterday voted unanimously to oppose the commission's draft proposal which recommends four territorial councils - Napier, Hastings, Central Hawke's Bay and Wairoa - and Hawke's Bay Regional Council be rolled into one body.

The vote was made after councillors had their say on their 76-page submission.

Some councillors and Mayor Bill Dalton said they were not opposed to improved local government, or even an amalgamation of sorts, but they did not like the commission's draft proposal.

Councillor Mark Herbert, referring to Local Government Commissioners Basil Morrison, Anne Carter and Grant Kirby, said "we've got three outsiders telling us how to run our province".

Councillor Tony Jeffery said the proposal's was based entirely on the premise that bigger is better, "and that's been discounted internationally".

The council's submission claims amalgamation would "decimate" either Hastings or Napier, with a loss to one's economy of between $20 million and $44 million. Wairoa and Central Hawke's Bay would take a hit of up to $4m, it says.

Hawke's Bay Regional councillors last week agreed on a submission that did not support the proposal.

Hastings was the only council to support amalgamation, but it submitted that the new council should be made up of a mayor and 18 councillors, rather than mayor and nine councillors as in the commission's plan.

Submissions must be in by tomorrow with public hearings to be held around mid-April.

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